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Sweet Success: USDA Support Pushes Nebraska Exporter to Greater Heights

Emil Font, the president of Nebraska-based U.S. agricultural exporting company Good Life Foods, showcases one of the many snack food products his company promotes to overseas markets at the Auckland Food Fair in New Zealand. Participating in USDA-endorsed trade shows is just one of many was that the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped Good Life Foods thrive internationally for more than 20 years.  Photo courtesy of Good Life Foods.

Emil Font, the president of Nebraska-based U.S. agricultural exporting company Good Life Foods, showcases one of the many snack food products his company promotes to overseas markets at the Auckland Food Fair in New Zealand. Participating in USDA-endorsed trade shows is just one of many was that the Foreign Agricultural Service has helped Good Life Foods thrive internationally for more than 20 years. Photo courtesy of Good Life Foods.

After more than two decades of exporting U.S. agricultural products, Good Life Foods is thriving internationally with support from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Read more »

Faith in Place recently secured a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to operate winter farmers markets.

Faith in Place recently secured a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to operate winter farmers markets.

For 18 years, Tony Ends of Scotch Hill Farm worked hard to develop direct marketing opportunities for his family’s crops and products. For over six of those years, he advocated for other small farms in winter markets that he organized with Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa churches. Trends in farming and the recent recession, which spurred a decline in attendance at some markets, have taken a negative toll on some farm families in the upper Midwest, but Tony hasn’t lost faith. Read more »

Digging the Farm and Finding History

Last spring and summer I had the opportunity to investigate two 1,000 year old archeological sites on a Montgomery County farm. Working with me were archeologists from Troy University and Auburn University at Montgomery, their students and volunteers from the Alabama Archeological Society. Our goal was to determine if the two sites were important to understanding the prehistory of Alabama and should be preserved.

Troy University students conduct shovel tests in an attempt to discover how far the archeological site extends into the woods from the row crop field.

Troy University students conduct shovel tests in an attempt to discover how far the archeological site extends into the woods from the row crop field.

I was on the farm because I am the Cultural Resources Specialist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Alabama. The farmer was planning to implement conservation practices on the land with NRCS’ assistance, so my job was to review the property and planned practices to determine whether we’d be adversely affecting the two archeological sites. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Thank You to American Agriculture

America’s farmers, ranchers and growers are some of our nation’s greatest assets. Not only do we rely on agriculture for our food, feed, fiber, and fuel, our agricultural producers preserve our environment, and help drive our national economy.

As I travel the country, I often ask folks when they last took a moment to thank or appreciate a farmer. The truth is that we owe a debt of gratitude to the hard working men and women who provide us – and much of the world – with a safe, reliable, affordable, and abundant food supply. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Reaffirms USDA’s Commitment to Support Tribes

It was fitting that the afternoon session of this month’s National Congress of American Indians meeting in Washington, DC, featured, as the lead speaker, former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today joined tribal leaders from across the nation at the National Congress of American Indians Tribal Nations Legislative Summit in Washington, D. C. on Wednesday March 7, 2012, where he announced investments of $900,000 for positive nutrition education and physical activity habits that can lead to healthier lifestyles. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today joined tribal leaders from across the nation at the National Congress of American Indians Tribal Nations Legislative Summit in Washington, D. C. on Wednesday March 7, 2012, where he announced investments of $900,000 for positive nutrition education and physical activity habits that can lead to healthier lifestyles. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

After leaving office, Senator Dorgan created a center for Native American Youth and remains an advocate for improving living conditions on reservations. At the event, Senator Dorgan urged attendees to continue to “fight on behalf of people living in third-world conditions to get them adequate housing, health care and an education system that gives Native kids opportunity.” Read more »

Public Land Access and Changing Demographics in Hall County, Georgia

In one of the first of its kind studies in the South, a research social scientist with the Forest Service Southern Research Station recently examined Latino access to local public lands in Hall County, Ga.

Census-track-based information from studies like this can help municipal and county planners develop strategies to address public land access by minority communities.

Researcher Cassandra Johnson Gaither  found that since 1990, Latinos have migrated or immigrated to nontraditional areas of the South—basically states other than Florida—at unprecedented rates.  The Latino populations in some southern states have increased by 300 to 400 percent.  This growth places demands on these areas from a pure numbers standpoint, but the associated cultural shift can’t be ignored. Read more »